A lot has happened in the recent weeks, and I didn’t get a chance to talk about the release of the Magic 2013 set.  I don’t have much to say, but I would like to clarify a few points.

With the release of the new set, I am pleased to see the Swords going away.  It’s generally a bad idea to put cards into a set that are good in any and every deck, and that’s exactly what the swords did.  Further, I’m glad to see the Titans (particularly Primeval Titan) going away; while I don’t think they were overpowered, I do think their removal will open up the design space for more interesting, less game breaking creatures.

I’m also pleased with what I see with the two new planeswalkers.  Ajani is a solid 3-Drop, and Liliana is going to be crazy with Mutilate in format. Liliana is one that I find particularly interesting, as her -3 ability can both protect her and buff creatures.

Despite that praise, I have a lot of problems with the new set.  I think my biggest complaint is that the set just seems too splashy.  Typically, I’ve seen the pure utility cards put into the core set and the splashier, more specializecd cards in the blocks.  The high-cost, crazy high effects of this set, though, make it somewhat unwieldy.

I was particularly disappointed with the planeswalker hate that they introduced with this new set.  As many of my readers know, I like playing planeswalker (so-called “SuperFriends”) decks.  One of the things that makes these decks work well is the ability to board-wipe using things like Day of Judgment and Terminus.  Unfortunately, Day of Judgment has been replaced by Planar Cleansing, which does no good and is terrible if it is played against you.  Further, they introduced Magmaquake, which can wipe out every planeswalker on your field with a single spell.

I think I’m frustrated because planeswalkers are supposed to be special, and not easy to kill without targeting them directly.  It seems like the opposite approach is being taken in this set, and they are being treated almost like any other creature.  It could be that it is good for the game, but I think it’s a huge hit to the flavor of the card type.  In any case, with the introduction of the new planeswalker hate, the removal of proliferation, and the removal of a good 4-drop creature-wipe, the planeswalker deck is not likely to be viable until after Ravnica.

On a bright note, the introduction of all of the basic-land-specific effects in the set makes the shock-lands almost a sure thing in the upcoming return to Ravnica set.  Also, the introduction of elf and merfolk lords in M13 make it likely that we are going to see some kind of tribal theme again.  That’s pretty exciting.

Still, I’m glad that this set was released just as I was starting my final semester of school.  I don’t feel so bad about taking a short hiatus from the game until the fall.